Sophomore guard Nate Hinton records his seventh double-double of the season in a victory

Cougars win conference opener over UCF

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The University of Houston Men's Basketball team (11-3, 1-0) opened its American Athletic Conference schedule with a 78-63 victory over the UCF Knights (9-5, 0-1), Friday night, inside the Fertitta Center in Houston. With the win, the Cougars extended their winning streak to five, a stretch of games that began with a victory over UTEP and mid-season championship during The Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic.

"The mindset of our team is to continuously remind ourselves that this is a new season," sophomore guard Nate Hinton said. "Conference is a new beast, and we are taking it one game at a time. To us, every game is a championship game."

While recording his seventh double-double of the season, Hinton scored a game-high 20 points (13 coming in the second half) on 58.3% shooting from the field, 50% from 3-point range. It was an exceptional all-around performance for the 6'5 guard out of Gastonia N.C., as Hinton notched a career-high 16 rebounds, five steals, three assists and a block in the win.

"Nate has just gotten better throughout the season," head coach Kelvin Sampson said. "When I recruited him, I knew from day one he was going to be a captain of this team because he impacts winning in so many different ways. He is a great representative of our program."

After missing two of their first three shots, it did not take long for the Cougars to shake off their holiday rust. Houston embarked on a 7-0 run ignited by freshman guard, Marcus Sasser, who scored five of the Cougars' first seven points following a slow start to the game.

However, a few bad calls and several unlucky buckets gave UCF a three-point lead en route of a 12-0 run late in the first half. Despite their mid-game turnaround, the Knights would not sustain their play as the Cougars took a 37-33 lead into the halftime break.

Although they closed the half connecting on all cylinders, the Cougars came out the gates in the second period struggling to buy a basket. After allowing UCF to come within two, Houston picked up their intensity on the defensive end and held the Knight scoreless for four straight minutes.

During the four-minute span, UCF missed seven consecutive shots and committed four turnovers during Houston's 9-0 run.

Junior forward Fabian White Jr, The Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic Most Outstanding Player, scored 13 points in the win, while Dejon Jarreau recorded 12 points shooting 12-for-14 from the charity stripe. For UCF, the Knights were led by Dazon Ingram who scored a team-high 13 points and Collin Smith who added in 11 in the loss.

Following the win, the Cougars will hit the road to take on the Temple Owls, Tuesday night, inside The Liacouras Center in Philadelphia. Tip-off is slated for 6:00 P.M. CT.

Quick Notes:

  • Freshman guard Caleb Mills left the game early in the second half following an allergic reaction. Coach Kelvin Sampson said after the game Mills is okay and will be ready to go by next game.
  • The Houston Cougars' outscored the Knights 28-15 in bench points.
  • The Cougars out-rebounded the Knights 45-41 in the win.


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TEXAS LONGHORNS (12-7), (2-4)

Last week: (0-1): L - LSU 69-67

This week: Wednesday vs TCU, Saturday vs. Iowa State

Even in a non-conference game, the Texas Longhorns have yet to get out of their slump. During their Big 12 vs SEC Conference showdown on Saturday, Texas dropped its third consecutive game in a two-point defeat to the streaking LSU Tigers.

In the loss, the Longhorns allowed LSU to record 15 offensive rebounds, in which the Tigers converted into 15 second-chance points. Following the win, Texas will look to end their losing skid in an interstate showdown against the TCU Horned Frogs.

TEXAS A&M AGGIES (9-9), (3-3)

Last week: (1-1): W - Mizzou 66-64, L - Oklahoma State 73-62

This week: Tuesday vs. Tennessee, Saturday vs. Georgia

The Texas A&M Aggies survived a recording-breaking night en route to a 66-64 victory over the Mizzou Tigers. in the loss, Mizzou hit a record 54 consecutive free throws—dating back to their loss against Alabama last season.

As Mizzou shot perfect from the line until their final attempt in the closing minutes of the games, Savion Flagg and Josh Nebo scored a combined 28 points and pulled down 11 rebounds in the win for the Aggies. Unfortunately, A&M would go on to lose their third game in four tries in a loss to the Mizzou Tigers.

Up next, the Aggies will return to the court on Tuesday for a match against Tennessee.

Houston Cougars (16-4), (6-1)

Last week: (2-0): W - UConn 63-59, W- USF 68-48

This week: Wednesday vs. ECU, Saturday vs. Cincinnati

Winners of 10 out of their last 11 games, the Houston Cougars swept through their opponents picking up wins against the UConn Mustangs and the USF.

DeJon Jarreau came two assists shy from recording the Cougars' first triple-double since Bo Outlaw in 1993, as the junior guard from New Orleans scored a season-high 18 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists in the win. Following the victory, the Cougars will hit the road for an American Athletic Conference showdown against ECU (Wednesday) and Cincinnati (Saturday).

RICE OWLS (9-13), (1-8)

Last week: (0-2): L - UTEP 72-64, L- UTSA 90-88

This week: Saturday vs. North Texas

Loser of eight of their last 10 games, the Rice Owls are currently riding a five-game losing streak after a winless week.

The Owls put up a good fight in both games, with their worst coming at the hands of UTSA on Saturday in a two-point defeat. Up next, Rice will look to end their worst skid of the season on Saturday in a CUSA showdown against North Texas.

BAYLOR BEARS (17-1), (6-0)

Last week: (1-0): W - Florida 72-61

This week: Wednesday vs. Iowa State, Saturday TCU

As the No. 1 top-ranked school in the nation, the Baylor Bears took part in the Big 12 vs SEC match in a 72-61 victory over Florida on Saturday.

While extending their winning streak to 16, Macio Teague led the Bears with 16 points, six rebounds and a block. Following the win, the Bears will put their winning streak on the line against Iowa State on Wednesday.

TCU HORNED FROGS (13-6), (4-2)

Last week: (1-1): W - Texas Tech 81-49, L - Arkansas 78-67

This week: Wednesday vs Texas, Saturday vs Baylor

Prior to losing to Arkansas on Saturday, the TCU Horned Frogs picked up a much-needed conference play win in a 65-54 victory over Texas Tech. In the win, Desmond Bane had one of his best performances of the season with 27 points (10-15 FG, 6-8 3PT), while Kevin Samuel recorded a double-double of 11 points and 11 boards.

Up next, TCU will look to return to the court on Wednesday for a showdown against the struggling Texas Longhorns.

TEXAS TECH RED RAIDERS (12-7), (3-3)

Last week: (1-1): L - Texas Tech 65-54, L - Kentucky 76-74 OT

This week: Wednesday vs West Virginia, Saturday vs Kansas

After a hot start to the season, the No. 18 Texas Tech Red Raiders are not living up to the high expectations since the start of conference play. Texas Tech's quick two-game win streak came to an end in a 65-54 loss to the TCU Horned Frogs. In the loss, TCU outscored Texas Tech by 15 points (38-23) in the second half, as well as allowing 17 second-chance points off 11 offensive rebounds.

Following an overtime inter-conference loss to Kentucky on Saturday, Texas Tech will hit the court on Wednesday in a home match against No. 12 West Virginia.

SMU MUSTANGS (15-4), (5-2)

Last week (2-0): W - ECU 84-64, W - Memphis 74-70

This week: Tuesday vs Cincinnati, Saturday vs Tulane

After taking care of business in the blowout win over ECU, the SMU Mustangs picked up a huge victory over No. 20 Memphis. It was an all-around team effort led by Kendric Davis who scored a game-high 20 points (5-11 FG, 2-6 3PT) and five assists, while Emmanuel Bandoumel added in 14 points.

Up next, the Mustangs will look to build off their perfect week on Tuesday against one of their conference rivals, the Cincinnati Bearcats in Cincinnati.

LSU TIGERS (15-4), (6-0)

Last week (2-0): W - Florida 84-82, W - Texas 69-67

This week: Wednesday vs Alabama, Saturday vs Ole Miss

The LSU Tigers continued their hot start in conference play and extended their overall winning streak to eight last week.Both games went down to the wire as the Tigers needed a potential game-winner by Florida's Keyontae Johnson waived off with 0.5 left to play. Six players scored in double-digits for LSU with Emmitt Williams leading the Tigers with 19 points.

The Tigers will return home for a SEC match against Florida on Tuesday.

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